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Friday, March 4, 2011

Gary Bedore’s basketball notebook: KU’s Tyshawn Taylor focused on winning

Kansas guard Tyshawn Taylor (10) scrambles for a loose ball with Texas A&M's Naji Hibbert (23) Wednesday, March 2, 2011.

Kansas guard Tyshawn Taylor (10) scrambles for a loose ball with Texas A&M's Naji Hibbert (23) Wednesday, March 2, 2011.

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Back on Feb. 12, responding to a question about troubles at rival Kansas State University, Kansas University junior Tyshawn Taylor acknowledged his own somewhat stormy past.

“My name scrolled across the bottom of ESPN a couple times, too, so I mean, they’ll be fine,” Taylor said of the Wildcats.

A week and a half later, the Wildcats indeed were back on the right track, yet he was in trouble — getting suspended for violating team rules.

Taylor missed two games, was reinstated Wednesday against Texas A&M;, then on Thursday met the media for the first time since committing his misstep.

“Yeah, it happened again, right?” a contrite Taylor said of his returning to the ESPN screen. “I broke team rules and my punishment was understandable. The punishment was definitely fair. I did my time. I’m back with the team, so I’m definitely happy.”

A former starter, Taylor came off the bench to score nine points with three assists and two turnovers while playing 17 minutes in KU’s 64-51 win over the Aggies.

KU coach Bill Self said Elijah Johnson would start and Taylor remain in a reserve role for Saturday’s 11 a.m. game at Missouri.

“I am focused on winning and being better for my team. If we win, I’m cool, man,” Taylor said. “I think I played pretty well off the bench, bringing a spark. If that’s what’s best for my team, I’m happy with it.

“Elijah has been playing amazing. If he plays the way he’s been playing, we’re that much deeper, that much better. I’m excited to see how he continues to play and how coach plays us. Seeing him play hard is something that will make me want to work harder, to do things different.”

Johnson — he had two points with three assists and three turnovers Wednesday — said the competition for minutes “is a positive outcome, no matter what.”

KU coach Bill Self likes Johnson’s play since the Taylor suspension.

“He used to be like Velcro. He’d stick to screens. It seems to me he’s getting through things better now,” Self said.

“It’s going to be by committee. We don’t need to be playing 10 guys a game anymore,” Self noted. “The reality is Brady (Morningstar) and Tyrel (Reed) are playing pretty well at the other two (guard) spots. Elijah, Josh (Selby), Tyshawn are battling for minutes. It’s game to game, too. If guys aren’t making shots and somebody is, they’ll get the majority of the minutes.”

Self said Johnson “would have played more,” (Wednesday) had he not remained on the floor after getting knocked in the head by an Aggie.

“He got his bell rung. He was on the floor long enough for me to sub. He said he’s OK after he got up. It was too late. Maybe that’s a good lesson for everybody to learn,” Self said.

Trophy talk

The Jayhawks already have won a share of the conference title entering Saturday’s game. If KU loses and Texas beats Baylor, UT ties KU. A Jayhawk victory over an MU team that is undefeated at home, would make KU outright champ.

“We don’t want to share. We are playing for something real big,” Elijah Johnson said. “I don’t know if going undefeated at home (MU is unbeaten in Mizzou Arena) is as big as being the Big 12 champion, but you see the picture. We’ve got to win one more to win it. We’ve got to bring it home.”

Self said “in this particular situation it’s totally good to be selfish. I don’t think anybody would like to share if they don’t have to.”

Comeback award

KU’s Thomas Robinson and Angel Goodrich are on the list of finalists for the 11th-annual V Foundation Comeback Award. Robinson has suffered through the deaths of his grandmother, grandfather and mother. Goodrich is coming off her second ACL surgery. Other finalists: Jessica Breland, North Carolina; Dawn Evans, James Madison; Jacki Gemelos, USC; Levi Knutson, Colorado; Andrea Mingo, Purdue; Cory Pflieger, Rice; Kim Rodgers, Maryland; Krystal Thomas, Duke; and Whitney Hand, Oklahoma.

Recruiting

Braeden Anderson, a 6-8, 230-pound senior forward from Wilbraham And Monson Academy in Wilbraham, Mass., tells Rivals.com he will make a recruiting visit to KU. He calls KU and Kentucky his “top schools.”

Comments

Funhawk 8 years, 12 months ago

Tyshawn is a real Jayhawk. For a college kid, Tyshawn has a lot of heart -- the quality of mind enabling one to face hardship resolutely. People like Tyshawn go a long way in life, because of heart.

RockChalkGuy 8 years, 12 months ago

+1

Being a college student is hard enough without living in a spotlight. TT hasn't done anything that is all that unusual, he's just done it on a very bright stage. He'll get it figured out.

yates33333 8 years, 12 months ago

+1 Remember what Mario Little's uncle said about the mean streets. Have compassion.

ChicagoJHawk 8 years, 12 months ago

Are you serious?? I couldn't disagree more. Between him fighting with the football team, posting those comments on facebook, and now another suspension, I'm really getting tired of Tyshawn and his off the court troubles. Not to mention on the court he's been turning the ball over and not scoring (with the exception of this past game, he did okay there).

I know "he's just a college kid" and "we all made mistakes when we were younger" but at what point does he learn from these mistakes. He's a junior now and needs to get his act together. If he truly has learned from this suspension and is ready to move on, great, but I'm just not getting my hopes up too quick since this isn't the first time he's been suspended.

Michael Bratisax 8 years, 12 months ago

I'm glad we don't have the same 'Honor' code as BYU. We couldn't field a team.

Gregor Southard 8 years, 12 months ago

Gary, no one is talking about Releford. What's up with him?

Michael Bratisax 8 years, 12 months ago

Good question..I'm guessing HCBS is tightening his rotation but that is only a guess.

LAJayhawk 8 years, 12 months ago

"We don’t need to be playing 10 guys a game anymore."

That seems to be the answer. I don't think he has fully recovered from the ankle thing, and Self is now looking to keep a lean lineup for the tournament. I don't think Travis is going to see many minutes unless we have a lot of foul trouble or, god forbid, another injury. Unfortunate for a kid that was on the brink of breaking out. At least we know he can and hopefully will next year.

Alohahawk 8 years, 12 months ago

Anderson originally committed to Depaul (I think), then de-committed.

Other recruiting news: According to Zagsblog, J P Tokota (2012) announced today that he will attend N. Carolina. No surprise. Had KU as a finalist, but don't think he even visited KU.

For 2011: We have three scholies available, unless someone leaves early. To Nadir, hope we can add Daniels and McLemore, or Anderson. We really need at least one big, Believe Daniels is 6'7 or 6'8", but is more of a small forward.

For 2012: If the twins stay for their senior year, the cupboard is pretty bare the following year, at least at this point. Believe Self has offered and I'm hoping we can get Archie Goodwin (shooting guard from Arkansas). Supposed to be hard-nosed and relentless. S. Muhammad (small forward) would be nice (OAD candidate), but he seems headed to the ACC (Puke or NC). Like/need to get Goodwin, Ellis, and another big or two for 2012. Already have the verbal from Josh Peters (6'9"). Nino Jackson, who has indicated high interest in KU, is a combo point/shooting guard.

Karen Mansfield-Stewart 8 years, 12 months ago

Who's this Braedon Anderson? Never heard of him. Is he any good or more of a role player?

Michael Bratisax 8 years, 12 months ago

3 star PF out of Canada. Reports say Duke and KU have sent offers. I would hope we could do better.

Jack Wilson 8 years, 12 months ago

Braeden Anderson is what we get when we strike out on every other quality post player .. we have to have body. Twins go, we're left with TRob and Withey, and the walk-on, Wesley. Scary.

overseashawk 8 years, 12 months ago

I truthfully wouldn't blame Releford if he transferred. I followed his HS career and have been relatively impressed with his limited minutes. I still think that he can make an impact as a Jayhawk but he could star on alot of other D1 teams.

FairgroveJayhawk 8 years, 12 months ago

Many of our non-starters can make an impact on other D1 schools.

Releford's time is coming.

RockCaCO3 8 years, 12 months ago

Releford has some good years ahead of him at KU.

Nutflush21 8 years, 12 months ago

He burned his red-shirt year so transferring would leave him with one year of eligibility. He also has a great chance to start next year. Besides, I think most people would tell you Travis is very happy at KU.

John Randall 8 years, 12 months ago

Red-shirting and sitting a year after a transfer have nothing to do with each other. This is Travis' second year of eligibility, and he will have two remaining, here or elsewhere.

Anyway. all this talk of transferring is pure speculation on and from message boards – no basis at all.

John Randall 8 years, 12 months ago

Red-shirting and sitting a year after a transfer have nothing to do with each other. This is Travis' second year of eligibility, and he will have two remaining, here or elsewhere.

Anyway. all this talk of transferring is pure speculation on and from message boards – no basis at all.

Nutflush21 8 years, 12 months ago

He burned his red-shirt year so transferring would leave him with one year of eligibility. He also has a great chance to start next year. Besides, I think most people would tell you Travis is very happy at KU.

Joe Baker 8 years, 12 months ago

Johnson — he had two points with three assists and three turnovers Wednesday — said the competition for minutes “is a positive outcome, no matter what.”

Rel will get his chance and be one of the best when he does it. I think he gets it and understands Self's program.

Transfer? Come on, have more faith in Rel and Self. Besides there seems to more than meets the eye with his ankle or something.

Joe Baker 8 years, 12 months ago

Many were saying the same thing about EJ too.

Look at him now-

Johnson — he had two points with three assists and three turnovers Wednesday — said the competition for minutes “is a positive outcome, no matter what.”

When you trust HCBS, things happen for you.

ObiWan 8 years, 12 months ago

With (at least) Tyrel, Brady and Mario leaving, I'd say a starting spot and 25-30 MPG is Travis' role to lose next year. With an opportunity like that in front of him at a school like Kansas, and two full years of eligibility left, where else would he want to go?

LAJayhawk 8 years, 12 months ago

Yep. Whether he starts or not, he will definitely be at least a 25 min/game guy next year... if the twins are gone, even more. The timing of his injury was very unfortunate, but it was clear he has the ability to break out. Another year fine-tuning his jumpshot, and he will be a big time guy for us next season.

FSUJHAWK 8 years, 12 months ago

Give Misery the one home loss that will hurt the most then raise the trophy at the halfcourt line on the head of the mangy tiger!

RCJHGKU!!!

PS, TT, we need you boss, keep that head straight!!!

Dirk Medema 8 years, 12 months ago

The trophy is already in AFH. Coach Self wouldn't disrespect the tiggers even if their fans deserve it.

RockChalkGuy 8 years, 12 months ago

thanks for the reminders. Tyrel deserves this award.

KU_FanSince75 8 years, 12 months ago

Tyshawn has a great attitude about his suspension. That has to help the team chemistry. Good luck with Mizzou, Jayhawks!

justinryman 8 years, 12 months ago

Lets all help Coach Self and Wife Cindy get $10,000 for thier charity on espn.com, just follow this link and vote for him. http://promo.espn.go.com/espn/contests/infiniti/2011/?dcn=1&dcp=oin.58754082.&dcc=40981165.237469173

Lets bring it home!!!!

kureignman 8 years, 12 months ago

I love Tyrel and it's hard to argue with Brady's playing time right now but I wish we could see more of Taylor and EJ playing at the same time. The speed and driving ability would be hard for any team to match. Even if it was in a game that is out hand, I'd like to see that combo.

jaybate 8 years, 12 months ago

I doubt we will see as much of EJ and Taylor as you wish.

Self appears to want to be two deep everywhere for the Madness for two reasons:

1) he wants to keep pressure on the point for 40 solid minutes, plus allow maximum help from the point for 40 solid minutes; and

2) when the XTReme Cheap Shotting and Muscle really begin in the Madness, XTReme Cheap Shotting Lite only works as a countervailing tactic, if you can afford to cheap shot from every position on the floor every few minutes, until the refs are forced to call the game by the rules.

This madness is going to be fascinating.

Opposing coaches, even including Coach Consonants, the apparent current reigning godfather of XTReme Cheap Shotting, have to have been watching closely what Self appears to have been doing with XTReme Cheap Shotting Lite.

I would not be at all suprised to see KU run into one, perhaps several, teams that deploy XTReme Cheap Shotting Lite back at KU. It seems a logical counter move at the moment.

jaybate 8 years, 12 months ago

I doubt we will see as much of EJ and Taylor as you wish.

Self appears to want to be two deep everywhere for the Madness for two reasons:

1) he wants to keep pressure on the point for 40 solid minutes, plus allow maximum help from the point for 40 solid minutes; and

2) when the XTReme Cheap Shotting and Muscle really begin in the Madness, XTReme Cheap Shotting Lite only works as a countervailing tactic, if you can afford to cheap shot from every position on the floor every few minutes, until the refs are forced to call the game by the rules.

This madness is going to be fascinating.

Opposing coaches, even including Coach Consonants, the apparent current reigning godfather of XTReme Cheap Shotting, have to have been watching closely what Self appears to have been doing with XTReme Cheap Shotting Lite.

I would not be at all suprised to see KU run into one, perhaps several, teams that deploy XTReme Cheap Shotting Lite back at KU. It seems a logical counter move at the moment.

jaybate 8 years, 12 months ago

sorry about the double post. suggest removal of one.

HawkBBall 8 years, 12 months ago

Excellent position to be in this time of the year!

PhogAdvisory 8 years, 12 months ago

Other Big XII teams undefeated at home until this year's Kansas team rolled into town:

-Colorado -Nebraska -Baylor -And... this year's Kansas team (heh)

Hold onto your banjos and batten down the meth labs! The streak snappers are comin' to town.

KUFan90 8 years, 12 months ago

Self said Johnson “would have played more,” (Wednesday) had he not remained on the floor after getting knocked in the head by an Aggie.

“He got his bell rung. He was on the floor long enough for me to sub. He said he’s OK after he got up. It was too late. Maybe that’s a good lesson for everybody to learn,” Self said.

Wow. Self is a tough SOB. Did anyone else see Self yelling at EJ and emphatically waving for him to get up and run down the court while EJ was laying there in a daze? Since EJ didn't get up Self sat his wuss azz on the bench for the rest of the game, then sends a message to the rest of the team with "maybe that's a good lesson for everybody to learn".

He's also called out Selby for not playing tougher through his stress reaction.

Self is obviously serious about instilling some toughness into this team!

Regarding Releford, looks like he is on the outside looking in for the rest of this year given Self's "don't need 10 players" comment. Little is currently the 9th man. But I agree...I think Releford isn't going anywhere and will have a killer year next year.

jaybate 8 years, 12 months ago

Travis lost Self's love when he wouldn't play hurt sooner.

Remember, Little played on a leg that needed a rod.

I don't like this aspect of Self and never have, but he is a fanatic about playing injured, when the team role requires it.

Self is serious when he says every player on the team has a role, often a unique one.

As a result, the rule seems to be: Player A needs to play, even if injured, even if performs poorly, to fulfill his role that the team depends on him for, because if he does not, then Self has to assign someone else to that injured players role, which weakens the team both places, rather than just one.

This key to understanding Self decisions about who he trusts, who he doesn't, and what roles he assigns.

Self appears to assign roles based on performance, but part of performance is the ability to play hurt. The reasoning seems to be: everyone is going to get hurt, so you can only fully depend on the guys with high pain tolerance, because they are the only ones that can go out and perform their roles no matter what.

Guys that demonstrate lower pain tolerances get assigned lesser roles that are easier to cover for if they hurt too much to perform.

But bottom line, if a player wants to be a big minute guy, he has to be able to play injured.

One of the things that nobody remarks about is the Twins who appear never to get injured. In fact, it is much more likely that they just play injured and carry on. The same is pretty much the case for Tyrel, Brady and TT.

jaybate 8 years, 12 months ago

Self is deceptively harsh about demanding players play injured. He makes it there choice. I suspect he never tells a player to play hurt. But the minutes plummet when they don't and everyone understands the game. If you want to play big minutes, you've got to be able to play injured, or he won't count on you.

I thought it was horrific watching Kaun play on his injured knee, but he did it and has flourished as a pro and so one has to infer that Self perhaps knows best in this regard.

But I don't agree with the approach at all.

At the same time, regarding his shouting at EJ to get up after he got his bell rung, I also think that Self has an obligation to the team to get them physically and mentally ready for the violence that awaits them in this season's Madness. It is apt to be way worse than last season.

IMHO, KU is no longer preparing for a basketball tournament. KU is preparing for a gladiatorial contest, or Thunderdome if you will. This year's Madness is probably going to be absolutely savage. Self not toughening them up severely, especially a player like EJ, who has never been severely mugged by a team like Pitt, WVU, Wisconsin, or several of the Big East teams, just needs to be challenged in terms of toughness every game from here on out, because Self has decided to depend on EJ as much as TT.

Bottom line is, Self knows TT can take the kind of stuff dished out by all the Ratso Izzo clones out there, but he knows EJ is untested and could easily get badly hurt if he does not understand just how tough he has to become merely to survive. And Self has apparently decided the team needs him to play 15-20 minutes to be its best, so for him to get intimidated in the Madness would sharply curtail the teams chances to win it.

Self is walking a fine line that he should never have had to walk, if the TV execs and NCAA had simply given referees permission to continue calling the game according to the rules. But they didn't. And Thuggins and Ratso Izzo flourished with XTReme Muscle. And Coach Consonants won a ring with XTReme Cheap Shotting and so here we are in the Division 1 equivalent of March Madness in a Roman Coliseum.

Please, please, please, someone organize to restore the game by calling the rules. Some young man is going to be paralyzed, or brain damaged, very shortly. It is going to be horrible and it is going to be entirely avoidable and we will all have been complicit.

Save the game!

Brian Stoops 8 years, 12 months ago

Jaybate -

As a current student at UW-Madison - I would love to hear your take on Bo Ryan and the badgers.

I have realized that I am a Jayhawk fan and not a college basketball fan - However, I would love to know more about the badgers so I can keep up with conversations around campus.

Thanks!

FreddyinLA 8 years, 12 months ago

Must be getting close to tournament time. HCBS is tightening the bench down. It happened later this time when compared to past years.

This team will be the Twins, Brady, Reed, and whoever is closest to the exit hole in the point guard doghouse. T-Rob don’t travel with the ball or you’re coming out. Mario, don’t jack up a bad shot or you’ll be sitting next to Rele.

Who’s Rele you ask? Oh, he was only our best on ball defender, most versatile player until he turns his ankle. He now doesn’t even bother to put his trunks on underneath his warm-ups ‘cause he ain’t getting in.

This team should have no problem getting to the final 4. But now, with a tight bench and confidence in the reserves dropping quickly, we are now bringing our old nemesis, the experience mid-major back into the mix.

jaybate 8 years, 12 months ago

If you are right about Self tightening the bench, you conclusion follows.

But I think we are going to see 9 to 10 guys play most games.

I suspect Self is just bluffing to try to get more out of his players down the stretch, to toughen them.

This team's greatest edge lies in its depth, when the Madness starts.

Remember, Saturday Monday conference games are the best simulation of each round of the Madness that exists.

Self's tendency has been to play seven guys a lot one of the games, then 9-10 alot the second game, or vice versa.

Self picks the toughest game and plays his best 7 big minutes that game, and then gambles on 9-10 to get him through the other game.

The Twins and TRob are going to play big minutes no matter what happens, if TRob's knee holds up. KU is a weak team without all three bigs.

On the perimeter, the injured Selby is mostly just a decoy and when the Madness gets here and the competition goes up the final notch, he will play less, because his dead ankle won't permit him to guard a top defender.

If EJ continues to perform well under increasingly intense muscle and cheap shotting, he will surely split 40 minutes with TT, so Self can keep maximum defensive pressure on the opposing PG and enable a lot of help defense, too. Everyone is overlooking the great help defense these two can provide, because Self has temporarily directed the spot light onto on ball pressure.

Brady and Tyrel will start and play a lot some games, but there just are going to be guys in the Madness that can take them into the paint and score on them. This does not happen much in the regular season, because they have both become very solid on-ball defenders. But it is not realistic to think these two can go 30-35 minutes against XTReme Muscle teams with a wings that are bigger, stronger and able to get to the rim. These are the games that Little and Releford are going to get their chances to serve the team and produce IMHO.

Each year a guy that seemed relegated to the bench has to come into a Madness game and give one or two huge 15-20 performances for a team even to reach the Finals.

Little gave such a performance two games ago, so we know it is in him. Releford could do it also, though he as not yet really done it when it counted, so there is more doubt about him. But remember that Cole was completely unproven, when he wild storked Psycho T for 10-15 minutes.

Bench tightening? Maybe you are right.

But I suspect injuries that simply leave Selby, Releford, and perhaps TRob not good enough to go, will be the only things that tighten the bench.

The rule in championship games is: you play with what got you there.

What got this team to 28-2 and second ranked has been FOE and "we have 12 best players."

ljmhawk 8 years, 12 months ago

I'm honestly sick of jaybate...this guy must be a 10-time NBA championship coach, he knows everything.

Funhawk 8 years, 12 months ago

Every Jayhawk junkie needs a jaybate. Jaybate rocks as hard as Chuck Berry!

HawkBBall 8 years, 12 months ago

I caught this on the mutigers.com official page:

"Missouri has won the last four Border Showdown trophies and boast a 6-2 advantage overall."

I don't know where they get this, unless they are counting all sports, and both men and women. We lost one basketball game to Mizery in Columbia on 2/2/09.

JayHawkFanToo 8 years, 12 months ago

The Border Showdown Trophy includes a number of sports in both men and women. Here is a link:

http://www.kuathletics.com/trads/kan-border-showdown.html

hawksquawk 8 years, 12 months ago

Q: What do Tyshawn Taylor and Charlie Sheen have in common?

A: They're both "focused on winning".

RockChalk26 8 years, 12 months ago

I bet they both have a little Tiger blood running through their veins too :)

Dan Harris 8 years, 12 months ago

defeat is not an option!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

PhogAdvisory 8 years, 12 months ago

I sure hope TT decides to defeat Misery with his fire-breathing fists...

Selbyville 8 years, 12 months ago

I will be at the game tomorrow, in the middle of the student section, wearing my blues.

Rock Chalk

Dan Harris 8 years, 12 months ago

you go !!!! Don't let the antlers rattle you!

KansasComet 8 years, 12 months ago

Self is just being Self. He did not let McDonald's All-American Cole Aldrich on the court very much his Freshman Year. However, when players were gassed in the North Carolina game, Aldrich got playing time and did quite well. Brady and Tyrel did their time and therefore they will play. Elijah has done his time. Travis had the injury and now he is doing is time. He will get to play in the tournament. I feel it will be more of a "break glass in case of emergency" situaltion, but I feel like he will play. I used to feel that Coach Self was playing favorites, now I feel like he is getting players to buy into the team concept and then rewarding them by giving them playing time on the grandest stage, playing basketball for the Kansas Jayhawks. He has really turned this basketball program into something special. If he is able to continue to get 5-Star recruits to stay 2-3 years to go along with the other players he develops 3-4 (sometimes 5) years, we have a real chance to win 3 or 4 Championships in a 5 to 5 year period. Kansas has a Basketball Program and not a One and Done Factory.

kufankam 8 years, 12 months ago

i am not one to normally cry about the whole "east coast bias" espn not paying any attention our way. however, in their "weekly watch", they (andy katz, who normally knows his stuff) refer to kansas as the "favorite" to win the conference. no mention that we have already secured a part of our 7th straight conference championship. the date says it was published today, so if that is correct, they are not giving the hawks their due. here is an excerpt and the link:

"Kansas looked like it had no shot to win the Big 12 just a few weeks ago after losing at Kansas State. But Texas has fallen fast and the Jayhawks have risen back up to where they are once again the favorite.

http://espn.go.com/ncb/notebook/_/page/notebookweekendwatch100304/march-4-march-6

hawksquawk 8 years, 12 months ago

Like you, I rarely see the point in arguing about "east coast bias."

But I was extremely disappointed in the lack in ESPN's lack of acknowledgment regarding our SEVENTH STRAIGHT big12 title. It is such a tremendous accomplishment and hasn't happened in a major conference in decades. Can you imagine the overtures ESPN would be making over Duke or UNC for accomplishing the same feat?

REHawk 8 years, 12 months ago

Yeah, that ESPN slight this week is almost absurd. Like Dukie V's recent lack of knowledge regarding Jayhawk bench depth. Bet they couldn't locate Lawrence on a map w/o aid of a seeing-eye mutt.

jaybate 8 years, 12 months ago

Stoops,

I went to grad school at UW-Madison. Great school. Great beer. Great brats. Great summer sailing on the lake at the Union. Lousy winters. Terrible winters. Evil winters. Not as bad as Minneapolis or Siberia winters, but still bad. :-)

And UW Madison--though many UW students seemed not realize it, when I attended in the 80s, has a sparkling basketball tradition from the early days of the game to the early 1950s, before every thing went to hell in a hand basket there for reasons that still escape me.

Bo Ryan's career is intricately interwoven with the long, slow and painful restoration of UW basketball to its respected (if you can stand butcher ball) status of today.

Bo Ryan is a very, very good coach and a very interesting hybrid, maybe the only one of his kind that I know of.

To wit: his roots are Philadelphia ball where his pop was a coach, which ties him in from birth to one of the few truly great hot beds of basketball that as a group parallels KU for longevity and significance. And I have written before about some of the underlying similarities between Philly Ball and Okie Ball, though Philly ball never went quite as far into the Tumbleweed Buddhism of take what they give us as first Eddie and now Self have gone.

But back to Bo.

Ryan's bio says he did a little stint at Villanova, which probably put him there in the great run of Philly coaches at several schools, probably with Jack Kraft at Nova. Kraft was a vintage Philly baller. To know Temple's Fran Dunphy today, and to be old enough to recall Jack Kraft and Rollie Massimino, is to know a significant amount about Ryan's basketball foundations.

But the above would only make him like today's Dunphy, or Jay Wright, or what have you transplanted some where outside Philly Cheese Steakville.

What makes Ryan an extraordinary hybrid is the time he then spent coming up through the ranks, first, at UW Madison, and then at UW's smaller campuses--Platteville and Milwaukee--but particularly Platteville.

Ryan apparently left Villanova quickly and shortly found his way to a small catholic college out in the midwest. This was not an unusual step in those days. It replicated what many catholic hoops kids on the east coast used to do. Al McGuire did it and wound up at Marquette a generation or two of coaches before Ryan. But Ryan started much smaller.

jaybate 8 years, 12 months ago

However, he quickly lucked into an assistant coaching job at UW-Madison under Bill Cofield, a pretty much forgotten figure, but the first African American head basketball coach at a B10 school ever. Cofield struggled as a head coach at UW, which had pretty much turned its back on basketball in that era. The word used to be that UW refused to drop its entrance requirements sufficiently to attract enough top talent to be competitive regularly, but I always doubted that, because of some of the football players I used to meet there. :-)

Frankly, UW used to love its football more than its hoops. People preferred tailgating at a bad football game to cheering at a good basketball game. Love of hoops was also always diluted and divided by love of hockey. I hate hockey with a passion, so I was never truly Bucky Badger material. If you want to fit in, at least feign loving hockey. I never could, so I never fit very well.

But underneath that football and hockey love is a state almost as populist, during the age of populism, and more progressive, during the progressive era, than the great state of Kansas was. And because basketball is nothing, if not one of the great lasting fruit born of the Populist and Progressive eras of American democracy, UW just needed to persist in finding the right coach and AD combination that wanted to rekindle that populist/progressive love for the greatest game ever invented that had laid dormant for half a century under the cheese curds and snow.

Cofield was the first real try. He was a bust for many reasons and then he got sick and died.

Probably not many highly qualified African American coaches would have wanted the UW job back then. A lot of highly qualified Caucasian American coaches did not want the job either. Because of ridiculous culturally biased assumptions, a lot of persons then apparently believed one could not get African American players, or any inner city players of any color, to come to perma frost Madison to play. Weird to think back and think people thought that way, but many did.

And Cofield probably took the job in part because he had been a racial pioneer some places already, had had some success recruiting at Virginia for Terry Holland, and because he was smart enough to see that African American coaches had to start making inroads somewhere. He had been at Prairie View A&M (not very successfully), then assisted at Virginia under Terry Holland, and then got the UW head job, when UW decided finally to cross the color line in coaching.

jaybate 8 years, 12 months ago

Those that hired Cofield probably thought that he would magically unlock a torrent of African American superstars to come to Mad Town. Racism bends thinking in such strange ways. If one truly sees an African American as a human being, one knows that he is looking for the best possible opportunity for success, not for the best possible African American coach. I suppose if two programs were exactly equal, he might tilt to the cultural familiarity of an African American coach, but two programs are almost never equal, and UW in those days surely was not one of the top programs.

Cofield the pioneer could not turn UW around, though he attracted some good players, among them Wes Matthews. Alas, Cofield shortly died from a disease, if I recall correctly, after a tenth place finish and an unimpressive record at most places he coached.

Why I mention Bill Cofield is that, whatever his obstacles (and they were many), and whatever his own short comings (I'm not qualified to say), he recognized and hired a bright assistant in Bo Ryan.

So: Ryan the Phillie kid (he actually played at Wilkes Barre), got some sudden exposure to a coach with shake and bake roots at Prairie View A&M (free lance run and gun was typical of African American NAIA schools of that era, though I do not know what style of ball Cofield actually coached at Prairie View) tempered with Terry Holland's ACC ball from Virginia.

And Ryan got his first extended look at B10 ball.

B10 ball was then vastly rougher than the rest of college basketball--even more so than the way that Big East ball is more rough than other conferences today. B10 ball then foreshadowed what was to come. And Bob Knight, though hardly its originator, took it to new heights of body checking.

So Mr. Philly gets some shake and bake, some ACC, and some B10 muscle ball all in very short order.

jaybate 8 years, 12 months ago

And when Cofield died, UW foolishly did not hire Ryan, but instead hired an average coach from Ball State named Steve Yoder. Ryan assisted Yoder a few seasons and there seemed hope for UW, but Ryan soon left for UW Platteville's head job and Yoder never really could recruit enough talent to turn the corner. Yoder wasn't a bad coach, but he just wasn't special enough to turn a program around, but he pushed UW a little farther up the ladder of consistency before departing, afterwhich UW sank into the apparently corrupt Stu Jackson era and then the Stan van Gundy modest recovery. Yoder now scouts in the NBA. Jackson and van Gundy haunt the NBA as well.

Where things get really interesting with Ryan is at Platteville, where he just set the world on fire as a head coach in DII and ran into a very, very distinct brand of ball control basketball that evolved there in the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. Dick Bennet was the father of this brand of ball, as nearly as I can tell.

Dick Bennett labored shrewdly but in utter obscurity for two decades at UW Stevens Point and UW Green Bay. Bennet developed a brand of ball that combined practically a stalling offense, with intensely physical defense that was geared to let less athletic players keep it close with more athletic teams and then win it by wearing them down by beating them up and disrupting them.

Sound familiar?

Dick Bennet is one of the true fathers of modern maul ball. He was far, far, far ahead of his time.

The basketball played by these small Wisconsin UW schools was supposedly waaaaay rougher than even B10 ball of the time, though I only actually saw Bennet's UW Green Bay team on television once. It was no holds barred take'em down however you have to on defense, and stall them to death until they crack on offense. And it worked.

But Bennett was passed over again and again for the UW Madison job, because he was not glamorous enough and his style of play was mistaken for a throw back to an old school, when in fact it was part of the formula for a rough new future.

Bennet was not a particularly savvy political animal, nor a media schmoozer at all. He was not a UW type either. He was hard as nails. Curt. Clipped. A real old cheese head who just happened to be a good coach with an innovative, but ugly approach to beating anybody that dared schedule him.

Bo Ryan ran smack dab into this style of basketball Bennett had caused to flourish in the small UW school conference.

jaybate 8 years, 12 months ago

One can only assume that even the tough Philly baller, the guy who had picked up on the shake and bake game from Bill Cofield, and the then state of the art style of play in the ACC, and the rough housing of the B10, had to be mind boggled about what he faced in Bennett ball.

I really don't know enough detail to know if Ryan and Bennet's careers overlapped extensively on the floor, but I believe they did. They appear to have been in Wisconsin DII for about 10 years together.

I only recall a Wisconsin friend told me that Bennett ball by then was a fact of DII life in Wisconsin. So: I have to infer that Ryan was influenced by Dick Bennett, one way or another.

It was IMHO that exposure to Bennet Ball that put the finishing touches on the game that you see Bo Ryan coach today.

Bennet finally made it to UW Madison from 1995 to 2001 where he produced a brand of basketball so rough on defense, so deliberate on offense, that even Ratso Izzo at Michigan State had to reach to new lows to out scrum Dick Bennet's Badgers for a 2000 NCAA ring, in what remains the low point of NCAA Finals history.

Still, there is no question in my mind that Dick Bennett is one of the more important coaches that ever lived, even though I despise everything he was allowed to do by the referees and even though his overall record at UW Madison was not that great. Bennett, for what its worth, retired from burn out in 2001, laid out a couple years, took the Washington State job, got his son hired there, and retired. Bob Knight before Bob Knight got Pat hired. Tony Bennet seems a better coach though.

jaybate 8 years, 12 months ago

And I cannot to this day understand quite how DII basketball in rural Wisconsin was ever seduced into this brand of butcher basketball essentially ahead of the rest of the country. I only know it happened. Not why. It wasn't TV. It wasn't broadcast windows. My best guess is that it was a fury and a response to being beaten repeatedly and badly by teams relying on a kind of athleticism (not just African American athleticism, but athleticism of every color) that the small UW schools could not attract, couple with rural Wisconsin's more or less intact small town culture and its pride in competing. Dairy subsidies kept Wisconsin small town culture vital at least to that time, where as much of Kansas small town culture had been decimated by the exodus to the big cities. It was also probably a part of the hockey ethic that is so prevalent in Wisconsin. Play rough. Knocking out teeth is okay. Etc. Whatever, some of the roughest ball ever played was supposedly played in those small UW schools.

And Ryan was a part of it.

And now when you see UW play, you are watching a great natural athlete and coach exposed to an extraordinary range of types of play, keeping UW in the thick of things most years, and beating a lot of teams it seems like they shouldn't beat, and though I distinctly dislike this brand of basketball, you are watching a man who has made something truly unique in basketball--one of the broadest hybridizations of play I can think of.

jayhawktalk 8 years, 12 months ago

Maybe I missed it as I scrolled through, not reading, but trying to pick out the connection, but what exactly does this have to do with KU basketball?

...Next post, treatise on the rise of soccer in Brazil? ;-)

In your honor, no fiction, [but also] no malice. Just curious.

kthawk 8 years, 12 months ago

A previous poster asked Jaybate to comment on Wisconsin basketball.

Brian Stoops 8 years, 12 months ago

I was the one who asked for some insight into UW basketball.

This is why Jaybate addressed his response to me.

Brian Stoops 8 years, 12 months ago

Jaybate -

Thanks for taking the time to share your knowledge - much appreciated.

I'm going to re-read your response a couple more times to really let it soak in!

Thanks!

jaybate 8 years, 12 months ago

And I cannot to this day understand quite how DII basketball in rural Wisconsin was ever seduced into this brand of butcher basketball essentially ahead of the rest of the country. I only know it happened. Not why. It wasn't TV. It wasn't broadcast windows. My best guess is that it was a fury and a response to being beaten repeatedly and badly by teams relying on a kind of athleticism (not just African American athleticism, but athleticism of every color) that the small UW schools could not attract, couple with rural Wisconsin's more or less intact small town culture and its pride in competing. Dairy subsidies kept Wisconsin small town culture vital at least to that time, where as much of Kansas small town culture had been decimated by the exodus to the big cities. It was also probably a part of the hockey ethic that is so prevalent in Wisconsin. Play rough. Knocking out teeth is okay. Etc. Whatever, some of the roughest ball ever played was supposedly played in those small UW schools.

And Ryan was a part of it.

And now when you see UW play, you are watching a great natural athlete and coach exposed to an extraordinary range of types of play, keeping UW in the thick of things most years, and beating a lot of teams it seems like they shouldn't beat, and though I distinctly dislike this brand of basketball, you are watching a man who has made something truly unique in basketball--one of the broadest hybridizations of play I can think of.

Brian Stoops 8 years, 12 months ago

Jaybate -

Thanks for taking the time to share your knowledge - much appreciated.

I'm going to re-read your response a couple more times to really let it soak in!

Thanks!

REHawk 8 years, 12 months ago

Say, jaybate, HEM and other regular in-depth posters: A thought has occurred to me re the recent suspension of TT. Other than the fact that Tyshawn actually committed a team rules inpropriety or infraction, and his benching would lead to EJ's being thrown into the limelight of starting responsibilities, could one of the underlying factors in Bill Self's decision center upon the question of team leadership? I will capitalize that word LEADERSHIP in hopes that LJW might allow it to slip thru the editorial net. Bill Self has to be extremely concerned with the leadership factor as this squad heads into tournament time. (Or perhaps not, as our record indicates that we have survived most contests under an umbrella of TEAM leadership....) Anyway, we all know that Bill Self appears to prefer combo guards over specificity re more precise point or shooting guard monikers. Yet, in reality he has counted upon the likes of Miles and Collins to lead as floor generals (and as off-court examples and mentors, esp., to incoming recruits). TT has finally proved that he cannot cut the mustard as a team leader or mentor...regardless of how he envisions himself as a member of this squad. So, even though very late in a winning season, Self finally decides to move to Square #2: start Elijah, trusting/hoping that a different point guard might, at the very least, not muddy the waters at a moment when this team is on the verge of 2010/11 greatness. Not to mention looking ahead to next season when the twins and Tyrel/Brady/Mario might all likely be missing from the lineup. I know this sounds like a ho-hum oversimplification. But LEADERSHIP might have lots to do with Self's late-season urges in regard to the recent and future shakeup. Any thoughts?

jaybate 8 years, 12 months ago

My guess is fairly simple.

Self had a disciplinary violation with TT he could not overlook and maintain authority and credibility.

He suspended him, then tried to use the situation to solve a long standing problem--the lack of a credible back-up at PG.

Self had tried everything else with EJ. He had coddled EJ. He had put him in the toughening box. He had shunned him. He had held the ball on the sidelines of the ISU game and given him the world's most chilling smile a coach has ever given a player in basketball history. Nothing had worked.

Finally Self took what he was given.

Maybe dumping full responsibility on EJ would shake him into maturing.

It was a small risk. He had Brady and Tyrel to fall back on if it didn't work, and Little and Releford in the wings at the 3, if he had to move Brady to point.

Self exaggeratedly cast his lot with EJ to force the seniors and the Twins to assume unquestioned Team Leadership.

The point guard became more so than ever a role that did not include team leadership.

My first hunch is that TT was not quite steady enough to lead the team yet this season.

My second hunch is that KU's first four players lacked the belief in EJ that Self believed they needed to have to make EJ feel accepted sufficiently as a starter, or even a core player, because they had all seen him founder just like the fans had. A guy doesn't have to fail to produce too many times, who has never consistently produced before, to lose the confidence of his teammates. And that lost confidence wears off on a player and makes him struggle even more.

jaybate 8 years, 12 months ago

And EJ's problem had fed into TT's problem all season--lack of concentration-partly due to an ingrained problem with concentration--and partly because he lacked a serious competitor for his spot. Every time Self put EJ in, he botched things pretty quickly for extended stretches of the season. TT could always go to Self and say, "Man, I'm doing my best coach," and Self had to coddle because he had no credible substitute to TT on the bench. TT kept getting 5-8 minute shots even through the worst of his slump, because Self believed in EJ and because he was desperate for a back up, given TT's wavering concentration.

Well, Self created a darned good threat with EJ during the suspension, or should I say EJ seized the moment and did so.

And now what you have is TT and EJ worrying more about each other than worrying about running the team.

Running the team defaults to a committee--the seniors and the Twins.

EJ and TT are just supposed to put as much pressure on ball as they can and bring the ball up court to Brady/Selby/Tyrel and let them wing point it into action.

But Self makes it very clear that he is a "show me" kind of guy on EJ. Self doesn't really believe EJ can sustain this when the going gets tough.

What Self really believes is that is that EJ's performance, great an athlete as EJ is, is too good to be true; that when the bullets and muscle and cheap shots start flying in the Conference Tourney and the Madness, EJ is going to fold and TT will probably have to assume most of the responsibility.

This is how old Marines feel about other old Marines.

The green ones, no matter how much special ops training they may have had, are still green Marines that combat will have to battle harden, not the old Marines.

Its how it is in life on the battlefield.

The old Marines will try to help keep the young ones alive, but they darned sure aren't going to get themselves, or their other old Marines killed betting leadership on a green 2 Louie that isn't smart enough to let the gunny run the platoon.

But as long as the green Marine keeps cutting, and keeps doing his job, when the really big ordnance starts flying, well then Sempre Fi, baby, Sempre Fi.

jaybate 8 years, 12 months ago

And you would have to be on the inside of this team to know who the gunny really is.

It could be Marcus. It could be Brady. It could be Tyrel.

My hunch all season has been Marcus, but I am beginning to think the real gunny has proven to be Tyrel.

Marcus is a year younger and years count alot in who the gunny is.

Marcus, I now believe, is the M260 man--the man with the big gun-- the man the gunny looks to in the fire fight to deliver the big blow--to finish the enemy.

But the underlying steel of the team, the guy who plays through pain that others can't quite grasp how he's doing it and still performs at a high level, the guy who just seems always on the floor, this seems to be Tyrel.

But it could also be Brady, because he has the years on everyone and the years count. And gunny's often run afoul of the corp and lose their stripes and get them back and lose them again, and get them back.

For all I know the gunny could be TT. Its clear that he is one of the guys that has cred with the bigs and with the smalls, but he's just been so darned inconsistent at times. Gunnies tend to have great concentration.

I don't know who the gunny is, but I know there is one.

I know there is a guy that guys look to when things are going south and his presence steadies them enough to get back to doing their jobs. Gunnies come in all packages, but this they have to be able to do.

Last year the gunny was Sherron and Cole had trouble with it, because Cole was a monster personality in the paint.

This year it could be Marcus.

It could be Tyrel.

It could be Brady.

It could even be TT.

Each one of them have some gunny in them.

Time will tell.

REHawk 8 years, 12 months ago

Thanks, jaybate. Thoughtprovoking insight. This has been a real dilemma for Bill Self and the team (to add to the several other dilemmas this season). Man, if the twins are gone next year, who is going to lead the 2011-12 Jayhawks? That leadership thing has been boltstered by 3 seniors and the twins this season. Seems as though leadership will be up for grabs. Maybe Selby, maybe 2nd louie Naiidir Tharpe, maybe Elijah or TRob.... But I am getting ahead of myself, even if Bill Self probably isn't.

tsande10 8 years, 12 months ago

does anyone know where to find paul pierces jersey retirement speech?

Kye Clark 8 years, 12 months ago

ralster - I agree with you that Tyshawn did have a decent game Wednesday. However, regarding your annoyance at the "timing of content" I will just say this - I am not one of Tyshawn's biggest believers. Not a hater by any stretch of the imagination; he's a Jayhawk and as such I always hope for nothing but the best for him both on and off the court. And while I haven't came on and expressed my doubts about him over the past couple of days, I wouldn't have had a problem doing so. Some people are fair-weather, bandwagon, "what have you done for me lately?" fans. But some fans (myself included) believe certain things about this team and one game isn't going to change our minds. And that would apply to any player. One game does not a season make. Trust me, we all want "Ws" (aside from the trolls). So should I come on and express my beliefs, concerns, doubts, etc. about anything please do not view it as a lack of support. I've said this before, but if I say I think a certain player should be playing more minutes, and I point out where I think those minutes should come from, I am not hating on the player I think should have their minutes cut, nor is anyone who disagrees with me a hater of the player I was a proponent of getting more minutes. For the most part, we are all just expressing our opinions on the way we see the games.

And while maybe you were aiming your post more at people who genuinely dislike Taylor and root for his demise, I thought I'd respond since I didn't see a whole lot of Tyshawn-hating on this thread. Generally I don't have time to go through every article and post on here everyday, much less respond to very many. I have a handful of regular posters I follow - you, oakville, HEM, kushaw, blownjay, alohahawk, REHawk - and I keep my eyes out for those posts. So maybe it's been more prevalent over the past couple of days and I've missed it, but at least here I didn't see it in any abundance.

REHawk 8 years, 12 months ago

ralster, I certainly don't want to go down as a Tyshawn hater. Basically, I am optimistic about any recruit or walk-on whom Bill Self selects to wear a Jayhawk uniform. Regarding leadership, a factor which usually falls to the generalship of a team's point guard, I just can't see Tyshawn as a person whose basic nature fits that bill. However, with Bill Self's patience and continued guidance and tweaking, we do see a very talented player taking another step forward in his Kansas playing career. Tyshawn's diving for that ball and screaming for Reed to go illustrated a glowing microcosm of where he could be headed throughout the remainder of this season and his Jayhawk career. I think he is one of the most difficult projects the coaching staff has dealt with. Exasperating social and mental slips for such a gifted physical talent. If this high powered team is to achieve maximum performance, we need Tyshawn to function consistently as one of the super 10 cylinders.

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